Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and wide receiver Tommy Shuler played their last game together as a record-setting duo for the Thundering Herd at the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl, and the childhood friends had a blast at the expense of the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Marshall claimed an impressive 52-23 victory over North Illinois. With the win, Doc Holliday‘s program finished 13-1 this season, while the Huskies have now lost three straight bowl games.
Marshall is the real deal. Impressive that they are blowing out MAC Champ Northern Illinois. Would like to see them vs. a Power 5 team.
— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) December 24, 2014
Cato and Shuler essentially played a simple game of pitch and catch during the contest as the Huskies helplessly failed to stop either.
The quarterback finished the contest 25-of-37 passing for 281 yards and three touchdowns. Shuler, meanwhile, caught 18 of those passes for 185 yards and a touchdown.
Both performances set new records.
First, Cato broke his own school record with a new season high in touchdown passes.
Shuler’s aspirations were a little higher than simply setting a new program record. The wide receiver broke a Conference USA career record during his unbelievable performance.
Northern Illinois simply couldn’t match Marshall’s explosive offense, particularly in the second half. While 425 yards of total offense is generally considered an impressive output, it was still 80 yards less than Marshall accumulated. And Marshall could have made it even worse late in the game before pulling back the reins.
As talented as Cato and Shuler are, running back Devon Johnson can’t be overlooked. The 243-pound running back set the tone early with his physical running style. He ended the contest with 131 rushing yards on only 15 carries.
A win in the Boca Raton Bowl may be a bit of a disappointment for the Thundering Herd, who entered the season with bigger aspirations, but Marshall once again proved its one of the finest programs not located in a Power Five conference.